44 CFR 65.10 - Mapping of areas protected by levee systems.

§ 65.10 Mapping of areas protected by levee systems.
(a) General. For purposes of the NFIP, FEMA will only recognize in its flood hazard and risk mapping effort those levee systems that meet, and continue to meet, minimum design, operation, and maintenance standards that are consistent with the level of protection sought through the comprehensive flood plain management criteria established by § 60.3 of this subchapter. Accordingly, this section describes the types of information FEMA needs to recognize, on NFIP maps, that a levee system provides protection from the base flood. This information must be supplied to FEMA by the community or other party seeking recognition of such a levee system at the time a flood risk study or restudy is conducted, when a map revision under the provisions of part 65 of this subchapter is sought based on a levee system, and upon request by the Federal Insurance Administrator during the review of previously recognized structures. The FEMA review will be for the sole purpose of establishing appropriate risk zone determinations for NFIP maps and shall not constitute a determination by FEMA as to how a structure or system will perform in a flood event.
(b) Design criteria. For levees to be recognized by FEMA, evidence that adequate design and operation and maintenance systems are in place to provide reasonable assurance that protection from the base flood exists must be provided. The following requirements must be met:
(1) Freeboard.
(i) Riverine levees must provide a minimum freeboard of three feet above the water-surface level of the base flood. An additional one foot above the minimum is required within 100 feet in either side of structures (such as bridges) riverward of the levee or wherever the flow is constricted. An additional one-half foot above the minimum at the upstream end of the levee, tapering to not less than the minimum at the downstream end of the levee, is also required.
(ii) Occasionally, exceptions to the minimum riverine freeboard requirement described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, may be approved. Appropriate engineering analyses demonstrating adequate protection with a lesser freeboard must be submitted to support a request for such an exception. The material presented must evaluate the uncertainty in the estimated base flood elevation profile and include, but not necessarily be limited to an assessment of statistical confidence limits of the 100-year discharge; changes in stage-discharge relationships; and the sources, potential, and magnitude of debris, sediment, and ice accumulation. It must be also shown that the levee will remain structurally stable during the base flood when such additional loading considerations are imposed. Under no circumstances will freeboard of less than two feet be accepted.
(iii) For coastal levees, the freeboard must be established at one foot above the height of the one percent wave or the maximum wave runup (whichever is greater) associated with the 100-year stillwater surge elevation at the site.
(iv) Occasionally, exceptions to the minimum coastal levee freeboard requirement described in paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section, may be approved. Appropriate engineering analyses demonstrating adequate protection with a lesser freeboard must be submitted to support a request for such an exception. The material presented must evaluate the uncertainty in the estimated base flood loading conditions. Particular emphasis must be placed on the effects of wave attack and overtopping on the stability of the levee. Under no circumstances, however, will a freeboard of less than two feet above the 100-year stillwater surge elevation be accepted.
(2) Closures. All openings must be provided with closure devices that are structural parts of the system during operation and design according to sound engineering practice.
(3) Embankment protection. Engineering analyses must be submitted that demonstrate that no appreciable erosion of the levee embankment can be expected during the base flood, as a result of either currents or waves, and that anticipated erosion will not result in failure of the levee embankment or foundation directly or indirectly through reduction of the seepage path and subsequent instability. The factors to be addressed in such analyses include, but are not limited to: Expected flow velocities (especially in constricted areas); expected wind and wave action; ice loading; impact of debris; slope protection techniques; duration of flooding at various stages and velocities; embankment and foundation materials; levee alignment, bends, and transitions; and levee side slopes.
(4) Embankment and foundation stability. Engineering analyses that evaluate levee embankment stability must be submitted. The analyses provided shall evaluate expected seepage during loading conditions associated with the base flood and shall demonstrate that seepage into or through the levee foundation and embankment will not jeopardize embankment or foundation stability. An alternative analysis demonstrating that the levee is designed and constructed for stability against loading conditions for Case IV as defined in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) manual, “Design and Construction of Levees” (EM 1110-2-1913, Chapter 6, Section II), may be used. The factors that shall be addressed in the analyses include: Depth of flooding, duration of flooding, embankment geometry and length of seepage path at critical locations, embankment and foundation materials, embankment compaction, penetrations, other design factors affecting seepage (such as drainage layers), and other design factors affecting embankment and foundation stability (such as berms).
(5) Settlement. Engineering analyses must be submitted that assess the potential and magnitude of future losses of freeboard as a result of levee settlement and demonstrate that freeboard will be maintained within the minimum standards set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. This analysis must address embankment loads, compressibility of embankment soils, compressibility of foundation soils, age of the levee system, and construction compaction methods. In addition, detailed settlement analysis using procedures such as those described in the COE manual, “Soil Mechanics Design—Settlement Analysis” (EM 1100-2-1904) must be submitted.
(6) Interior drainage. An analysis must be submitted that identifies the source(s) of such flooding, the extent of the flooded area, and, if the average depth is greater than one foot, the water-surface elevation(s) of the base flood. This analysis must be based on the joint probability of interior and exterior flooding and the capacity of facilities (such as drainage lines and pumps) for evacuating interior floodwaters.
(7) Other design criteria. In unique situations, such as those where the levee system has relatively high vulnerability, FEMA may require that other design criteria and analyses be submitted to show that the levees provide adequate protection. In such situations, sound engineering practice will be the standard on which FEMA will base its determinations. FEMA will also provide the rationale for requiring this additional information.
(c) Operation plans and criteria. For a levee system to be recognized, the operational criteria must be as described below. All closure devices or mechanical systems for internal drainage, whether manual or automatic, must be operated in accordance with an officially adopted operation manual, a copy of which must be provided to FEMA by the operator when levee or drainage system recognition is being sought or when the manual for a previously recognized system is revised in any manner. All operations must be under the jurisdiction of a Federal or State agency, an agency created by Federal or State law, or an agency of a community participating in the NFIP.
(1) Closures. Operation plans for closures must include the following:
(i) Documentation of the flood warning system, under the jurisdiction of Federal, State, or community officials, that will be used to trigger emergency operation activities and demonstration that sufficient flood warning time exists for the completed operation of all closure structures, including necessary sealing, before floodwaters reach the base of the closure.
(ii) A formal plan of operation including specific actions and assignments of responsibility by individual name or title.
(iii) Provisions for periodic operation, at not less than one-year intervals, of the closure structure for testing and training purposes.
(2) Interior drainage systems. Interior drainage systems associated with levee systems usually include storage areas, gravity outlets, pumping stations, or a combination thereof. These drainage systems will be recognized by FEMA on NFIP maps for flood protection purposes only if the following minimum criteria are included in the operation plan:
(i) Documentation of the flood warning system, under the jurisdiction of Federal, State, or community officials, that will be used to trigger emergency operation activities and demonstration that sufficient flood warning time exists to permit activation of mechanized portions of the drainage system.
(ii) A formal plan of operation including specific actions and assignments of responsibility by individual name or title.
(iii) Provision for manual backup for the activation of automatic systems.
(iv) Provisions for periodic inspection of interior drainage systems and periodic operation of any mechanized portions for testing and training purposes. No more than one year shall elapse between either the inspections or the operations.
(3) Other operation plans and criteria. Other operating plans and criteria may be required by FEMA to ensure that adequate protection is provided in specific situations. In such cases, sound emergency management practice will be the standard upon which FEMA determinations will be based.
(d) Maintenance plans and criteria. For levee systems to be recognized as providing protection from the base flood, the maintenance criteria must be as described herein. Levee systems must be maintained in accordance with an officially adopted maintenance plan, and a copy of this plan must be provided to FEMA by the owner of the levee system when recognition is being sought or when the plan for a previously recognized system is revised in any manner. All maintenance activities must be under the jurisdiction of a Federal or State agency, an agency created by Federal or State law, or an agency of a community participating in the NFIP that must assume ultimate responsibility for maintenance. This plan must document the formal procedure that ensures that the stability, height, and overall integrity of the levee and its associated structures and systems are maintained. At a minimum, maintenance plans shall specify the maintenance activities to be performed, the frequency of their performance, and the person by name or title responsible for their performance.
(e) Certification requirements. Data submitted to support that a given levee system complies with the structural requirements set forth in paragraphs (b)(1) through (7) of this section must be certified by a registered professional engineer. Also, certified as-built plans of the levee must be submitted. Certifications are subject to the definition given at § 65.2 of this subchapter. In lieu of these structural requirements, a Federal agency with responsibility for levee design may certify that the levee has been adequately designed and constructed to provide protection against the base flood.
[51 FR 30316, Aug. 25, 1986]

Title 44 published on 2013-10-01

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